The Baby Bonus by Metsy Hingle
(Silh. Desire #1295, 3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76295-X
***
The Baby Bonus is a second chance at love story. Two young people who were briefly married and bitterly divorced are reunited by an unusual twist involving artificial insemination.

Regan St. Claire is thrilled when she learns that she is pregnant from an artificial insemination procedure. What she doesn't know is that her Aunt Liz, who is also her doctor, acquired the donated sperm from Regan's ex-husband, Cole Thornton. Aunt Liz fooled both of them. Cole thought that Regan knew that he was the donor. When Liz informs him that the procedure was a success, he confronts Regan and they discover that neither of them had known the truth.

Regan and Cole had married young when she became pregnant. He was a fatherless boy working as a gardener for Regan's father. Her father forced her to annul the marriage after the miscarriage by threatening to have Cole arrested since she was underage. Rather than tell Cole the truth, she told him that she didn't love him and went through with the annulment. Cole was bitter and angry and determined to prove to the world that he was more than just a bastard.

Twelve years later, Cole is now a millionaire businessman. He does not want his child to grow up a bastard as he did, so he insists that Regan marry him to give the child a father's name. He says that he no longer believes in love and wants the marriage to be a business deal that will end after the child is born. Regan is afraid to marry him because she has always loved Cole and doesn't think she can stand losing him again.

The two main characters are believable in their reactions to the difficult situation. Cole’s experiences had seriously damaged his sense of worth. His determination to give his child his name and his fear of loving Regan again make sense, but it did seem that he took a little too long admitting his love for her. Regan's decision to not let him know that she still loved him was understandable because she knew that he wouldn't believe her.

The Baby Bonus is an acceptable story with only the twist of artificial insemination to make it unusual.

--B. Kathy Leitle


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